By Douglas Okoro
Former governor of Ebonyi, Dr Sam Egwu, has commended Gov. Dave Umahi of Ebonyi for sustaining the free education programme he introduced while in office.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), recalls that Egwu was Ebonyi governor from 1999 to 2007.
Egwu who is the incumbent senator representing Ebonyi-North zone, spoke on Wednesday in Abakaliki, in an interview with NAN.
He said that the state government had shown commitment in sustaining the achievements made by previous administrations in deepening and developing the education sector.
Egwu, also a former Minister of Education during the administration of late President Musa Ya’radua, commended government’s efforts in the training and retraining of teachers and upgrading of school infrastructure.
He also commended the government for the procurement of teaching aids and regular payments of the state’s counterparts funds to the Universal Basic Education Commission.
“These are critical for the provision of qualitative teaching and learning.
“Ebonyi is one of the few states that has sustained and maintained 100 per cent free and compulsory education from primary to senior secondary school levels.
“We started the revolution, and I am glad that what we started in 1999 is still being sustained and our children are enjoying an unhindered access to free basic and senior secondary school education.
“The Ebonyi school system and its educational programme rank among the best in the country; students from both private and public schools have represented the country in many international academic competitions and they excelled.
“We have raised the stake high in education; I am happy that our state which was formally regarded as educationally backward is now taking centre-stage in academic achievements, ” Egwu said.
According to the senator, “the highest form of social development is human capital development and my administration for the eight years we were on the saddle channelled resources to address the problem.
“We trained many medical doctors, lawyers, accountants, engineers among other professionals through overseas scholarships and these professionals constitute the bulk of manpower serving in various sectors of our economy.
“Many of the beneficiaries till date still call me to appreciate the opportunity that our government afforded them to study abroad,” Egwu added.
NAN recalls that among the legacies of Egwu in the education sector were the establishment of two tertiary institutions- the Ebonyi State University (EBSU) and the Ebonyi State College of Education.